Wind Power Boosts Hydrogen Transportation

Covestro
Hydrogenics electrolyzer in the Covestro industrial area, © Niels H. Petersen

Thanks to NEW 4.0, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein is rapidly turning into a showcase for the energy market transformation in the country. The abbreviation stands for a growing innovation alliance, formed on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution, which intends to create a smart and interconnected energy system. One of the many NEW 4.0 projects is Wind to Gas Energy’s hydrogen venture in Brunsbüttel.

Within three years, the business’s chief executive, Tim Brandt, managed to secure funding and build an electrolyzer supplied with clean electricity from a nearby wind farm. Now, the business is planning to bring an injection point and a hydrogen fueling station into operation.

Brandt’s project is one of a number of endeavors being launched in many places in the north of Germany. All of them aim to establish a smart energy system to prevent wind farm output from being curtailed, so that it could be used, in the form of renewable hydrogen, to fill up the tanks of fuel cell vehicles or the natural gas grid. Ever since turbines were repowered statewide, surplus wind energy has been available in abundance.

To push forward with ideas for using the surplus, Brandt, who, around three years ago, wrote his thesis on the application of power-to-gas, and Hans-Reimer Thießen, a pioneer in wind energy since the early 1990s, set up Wind to Gas Energy. Thießen is also its second chief executive. Today, they manage a 15-megawatt wind farm, made up of five Enercon systems, north of Brunsbüttel. The electric power is transferred through 3.5 miles (6 kilometers) of cable running 89 feet (27 meters) below the Kiel Canal to the Covestro industrial area. As part of a test launched at the end of 2017, some of the energy is then stored in a 2.5-megawatt battery made by ADS-Tec and located at the Ostermoor substation.

As of late, the core of the project has been an electrolyzer with a capacity of 2.4 megawatts. It can produce 450 normal cubic meters of 30-bar hydrogen per hour. This corresponds to 40 kilograms at a fueling station cost of EUR 9.50 a kilogram. Daily output could power a fuel cell vehicle for 2485.5 miles (4,000 kilometers), explained Brandt. Considering that the wind farm was in operation for 3,000 full-load hours a year, it could produce two million cubic meters of hydrogen, or around 180,000 kilograms, that way.

During an on-site visit, Brandt proudly presented the innards of the HyLYZER-400-30 unit. He said Hydrogenics had won the bidding because it had offered the best value for money among five companies.

Read more: January issue 2019

Written by Niels Hendrik Petersen and Sven Geitmann

Leave a Comment